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Photo ©: Sirotti

Montreal World Cup - CDM

Canada, May 27, 2006

Preview

Battle on Mont Royal

Cooke to defend World Cup lead

By Kristy Scrymgeour

Straight off the back of one of the hardest stage races on the women's calendar, the major teams on the circuit have flown across the Atlantic for the seventh round of the UCI World Cup Series in Montreal, Canada. Montreal has always been considered one of the harder rounds of the World Cup, featuring a steep 2km climb each up Mont Royal within every lap. The women will ride six laps of the 20km lap for a total of 120km.

Defending champion and four time winner of the event, Genevieve Jeanson will not be on the start line due to her suspension earlier this year, but three of the four riders who placed second to her over the years, will be. Judith Arndt (T-Mobile), Oenone Wood (Nurnberger) and current World Cup leader Nicole Cooke (Univega) are all considered favourites this year.

Cooke has shown her form this year, winning round four and six of the World Cup on a similar type of parcours that she will face in Montreal. Cooke excels on a tough course that includes steep power climbs and with fresher legs having not competed in Tour de l'Aude she is definitely considered a favourite to win this weekend. With a strong team behind her, including Priska Doppmann and Joanne Kiesanowski who won four stages between them in l'Aude last week, Cooke will be a force to be reckoned with.

With Nurnberger in a different situation to the previous two years where they raced to defend the World Cup lead, we may see different tactics from them. Wood has proven to be strong on this course, taking second to Jeanson last year, but the team also has Trixi Worrack who has the capability of winning on this course. Worrack took third place overall in Tour de l'Aude last week and her form has been consistently improving over the season.

Judith Arndt is also one to look out for on this course. With near victories in the last three rounds of the World Cup and three stage wins in the Gracia Tour to her name already this year, Arndt is another favourite to win. Her teammate and local hero Lyne Bessette won't be on the start line after announcing her retirement from cycling earlier in the week but nevertheless T-Mobile brings a strong team to the start line in Canada.

Canadian Erinne Willock is back with her Webcor team to try again for a victory in her homeland. Last year she led on the final climb until Jeanson came around her near the top. She took sixth place with her teammate Christine Thorburne also placing in the top ten.

Despite the final climb being the place that the race has been won the majority of times, the course lends itself to surprise attacks. Last year we saw Olivia Gollan (Nobili Rubinetterie) attack on the descent and open up a significant gap and back in 2002 we saw Dede Demet-Barry and Anna Wilson immediately attack on the descent after being dropped on the climb and chasing back on. The pair stayed away to take first and second place in front of a chasing bunch.

With Cooke leading the series by 74 points from Arndt and 75 points from Wood, we'll be looking for an aggressive race from the T-Mobile and Nurnberger teams.